Selling Snake Oil

This is a fantastic clip from an American version of “Dragon’s Den” which I think would make an excellent starting point for a discussion on “how science works”. It’s so good it could have been made for this very purpose:

Some obvious questions to get the discussion going:

Are the Dragons right or are they just being rude by refusing to allow the guy to show them more of his “research”? (He claims to have lots more he can show them)

What, if anything, is wrong with the salesman’s research?

The salesman claims he has video testimony of people who have been cured by his medicine – would that be enough to convince you of its efficacy? If not, why not?

Why do you think the “Dragons” reacted so violently against this man?

1 Comment »

  1. Terrific sequence, particularly since it’s entirely ambiguous whether the salesman was knowingly peddling snake oil, or if he genuinely believed in his product.
    I think the discussion to prompt goes from why the guy’s ‘research’ isn’t, on to how the dragons might have better expressed their concerns. How do you explain to somebody that their claims aren’t valid?
    Convincing yourself is one thing; being able to convince somebody else is quite another. In the clip, the dragons are clear in their opinions, but not in their arguments – in an odd way, the salesman is more convincing than they are.

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